The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury issued final rules governing the portability of health coverage offered by ERISA group health plans and group health insurance issuers. The final rules, which took effect for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2005, are substantially similar to interim regulations that have been in effect for many years. In addition to minor clarifications, changes to the rules regarding special enrollment rights prompted the following changes to the forms and procedures of BCBSGa/BCBSHP:
Notice of Special Enrollment for those who enroll – BCBSGa/BCBSHP will assist employers in complying with the requirement that group health plans provide all employees with a notice of special enrollment rights at or before the time the employee is initially offered the opportunity to enroll in the plan. Special enrollment rights notice language has been added to our enrollment materials and employees who enroll will also receive a notice in the Certificate Booklet.
Notice of Special Enrollment for those who decline coverage - Because the notice must also be given to those who decline enrollment, this information is included with our Member Enrollment Applications. Employees waiving coverage are asked to complete the form and return it to you, their Group Administrator. This allows you to document that the special enrollment notice was given to those employees who declined coverage. It is not necessary to submit it to us, but you may wish to retain it for your records.